Clues to an organisation’s culture: feedback, opportunity or excuses?


I am fascinated by how an organisation’s culture is created, embedded and protected by the people in the organisation. I have worked in a variety of organisations and the process of my understanding, fighting and succumbing to the inherent culture has always been characterised by frustration, surprise and eventual integration into the culture.

Just like changing a society, changing an organisation’s culture is difficult and sometimes impossible. It is the new person to the environment, the ‘outsider’, that easily recognises issues and opportunities. However, the resistance to change by the people who have created and fostered the culture is huge.

In education, there is always the threat and promise of change. The change supposedly starts at the top and trickles down. There are red-flags, or clues, that tells you whether this change is actually accepted yet. A great example of a clue to an organisation’s culture is what happens when you give or get feedback. Do they treat it as an opportunity?  Are you free to treat it as an opportunity?  Or are you forced to give excuses, do you receive excuses?

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